There's a problem inherent in 'giving' that doesn't get much appropriate talk-time. (Being a Party Goddess, you might assume I'm talking about the fact that so few people are accustomed to 'gracefully receiving'. But no. While it IS true that a fair number of hostesses give til they're exhausted to maintain their spot as family star in the no-one-can-do-it-but-me-because-I-love-you-so-much spotlight, I'm saving that for another blog post. No, I'm talking about what we must give UP when we give.
First, know this: There's a difference in the kinds of giving. According to Jewish law a mitzvah is a good deed. But there are differences in them. For instance, a to honor your mother and father is good, but doing it because you're told to isn't as good a deed as doing it willingly. I grew up being taught to tithe 10% to my church, but recently I read in a book by A.J. Jacobs (one of my favorites, and author of the hilarious memoir The Year of Living Biblically) that we are to give 10% to the place that TEACHES US and FEEDS OUR SOUL so that our lives might serve as a beneficial presence to the planet (sorry, A.J. those are my awesome words, not yours). But that's cool, right? Well, for me, that happens to be my church, but for those of you seeking to tithe who don't feel that way about a particular church, you can take a note from A.J. and start giving now to another source. Please.
Here's the problem about giving: The ego wants to be involved.
Let me explain the paradox.
You throw a party (so far, all's well). You genuinely mean it as a gift to others, but at some point, often in some tiny way (like if they don't thank you as soon as you'd hoped they would), your gift to them is transformed from an act of love into an act of attack upon them. Your mind starts in with a resentment that sounds like 'you never see how hard I work for you' and 'you didn't even notice how I [fill in the blank]'. There's also this: 'while you're all having fun I'm [fill in the blank]' Sound familiar? That tricky ego is devious!
This is why a mitzvah done publicly isn't as highly valued (e.g. like if you get your name on a plaque for your financial contribution) as a mitzvah done anonymously. Make sense? By giving anonymously you hijack the ego's attempt to turn love into an attack! Brilliant!
Now, in terms of entertaining for your family, it is hard to do it anonymously (surprise parties don't count, silly). So what to do?
The answer is surprisingly simple: make sure that you receive as often as you give.
You heard me right.
To 'give' there must be a 'RECEIVER'. And sometimes it should be YOU! (The truth is you're probably really good, maybe a little TOO GOOD, at giving.) So ere's a couple tips about how to RECEIVE as well as you give!
1. Be a guest at your own party.
2. Receive gracefully (e.g. if someone compliments your dress, don't dismiss their remarks - that's just rude!)
3. Let others help you.
4. Receive as often as you give. (You deserve it!)
5. Don't try and do it all by yourself. (You won't get to heaven any faster than me just because you suffered more!)
You can ask any spouse who has a mate that works too hard for others and they'll tell you the same thing: "I'd rather they were WITH me during the party, rather than working on giving me a party."
Take a tip from the playbooks and make a reservation with us so YOU can be a guest at your own party. You can call us at 530-582-4882 or text us 530-414-3439 or visit our website. You deserve to have the same party you're giving to everyone else. Let us take things off your to-do-list and put them on ours so you can enjoy yourself and those you love. And let the 'paradox of giving' be solved forever more. Amen!